Read: Micah 1-7
May we read the words of the prophets of old and hear God’s voice for us, to us, this day. There is a reason we have ancient writings to study. What does this say to you? Should we dismiss this as something from the past that is no longer relevant or important? Holy Spirit, fill our minds with your presence as we read this small portion of the Bible this morning. May your plans be our plans; your ways, our ways.
The prophet, “Micah of Moresheth during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah—the vision he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem” Micah 1:1.
- Jotham: 2 Kings 15:32-38 and 2 Chronicles 27:1-9
- Ahaz: 2 Kings 16 and 2 Chronicles 28
- Hezekiah: 2 Kings 18-20 and 2 Chronicles 29-32
Micah’s words speak directly to Israel for their sins, their errant ways:
All this is because of Jacob’s transgression,
because of the sins of the people of Israel.
What is Jacob’s transgression?
Is it not Samaria?
What is Judah’s high place?
Is it not Jerusalem?
For what they have done, they will be punished. Here he lets them know their children will go into exile.
Shave your head in mourning
for the children in whom you delight;
make yourself as bald as the vulture,
for they will go from you into exile.
It’s one thing to punish me for my transgressions, it’s a whole different level to threaten my children.
The plans of the people are just that–their plans. These are not God’s plans or desires. Yet the people are blind to that which is set before them. Micah reminds us that God’s desire is for unity, the the time when we are all together.
“I will surely gather all of you, Jacob;
I will surely bring together the remnant of Israel.
I will bring them together like sheep in a pen,
like a flock in its pasture;
the place will throng with people.
Honestly, I think this is very relevant to our discussion today:
This is what the Lord says:
“As for the prophets
who lead my people astray,
they proclaim ‘peace’
if they have something to eat,
but prepare to wage war against anyone
who refuses to feed them.
Therefore night will come over you, without visions,
and darkness, without divination.
The sun will set for the prophets,
and the day will go dark for them.
We should not be so easily led astray, but we are easily captivated by charismatic teaching, words that please the ears and capture our imagination. Wonderful words, but are they God’s words? One day we will hear the words directly from the Lord, his kingdom will be established. On that day:
He will judge between many peoples
and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.
Lord, I long for the day when there will be no more war, when people no longer pursue their agendas above yours–this will be a glorious day! This is your plan, your desire:
“In that day,” declares the Lord,
“I will gather the lame;
I will assemble the exiles
and those I have brought to grief.
I will make the lame my remnant,
those driven away a strong nation.
The lame, those who were outcast because of their inability to contribute to the community, are not rejected by the Lord, rather, they are gathered to his house as his people. The outcasts will become the chosen.
Hear the great promise from the Lord through Micah:
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.”
Oh how I long for this:
The remnant of Jacob will be
in the midst of many peoples
like dew from the Lord,
like showers on the grass,
which do not wait for anyone
or depend on man.
For in that day, declares the Lord:
I will destroy your idols
and your sacred stones from among you;
you will no longer bow down
to the work of your hands.
Have we forgotten the Lord’s way? Have we made complex that which was always intended to be simple?
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Micah reminds us that we are mere mortals, that we are not the creators that our wild imagination believes. He calls us to be humble and walk with God. This is not news, but to some it sounds like an unfamiliar language, just gibberish.
This is a horrible time in history. Could these be current events?
The faithful have been swept from the land;
not one upright person remains.
Everyone lies in wait to shed blood;
they hunt each other with nets.
Both hands are skilled in doing evil;
the ruler demands gifts,
the judge accepts bribes,
the powerful dictate what they desire—
they all conspire together.
Is not doing good the same as doing evil? I think so. We are called to do good for the kingdom, not simply to avoid doing evil. The word “gloat” always gets my attention because it’s such a provocative word that expresses arrogant pride, an unholy perspective of my triumph and not God’s. In this case, those who gloat over Israel will soon realize their mistake:
Do not gloat over me, my enemy!
Though I have fallen, I will rise.
Though I sit in darkness,
the Lord will be my light.
Micah leaves us with great hope, with words we should read over and over again with wonderful assurance that we need to share with our family, our neighbors, our world:
Who is a God like you,
who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
but delight to show mercy.